Record Tech: The Converter That Firepunk Diesel Used To Go 3.99

A racing program that consistently runs at the front and sets records spends a lot of time digging around for every advantage possible. The team at Firepunk Diesel shocked the world at Lights Out 12 when its S-10 became the first diesel-powered vehicle to crack the 3-second barrier, thanks to its endless pursuit of perfection. Firepunk’s use of a special Neal Chance Racing Converters torque converter played a role in making the record a reality.

A high-performance diesel engine is a totally different animal than your typical gas engine and requires a different type of torque converter for optimal performance. Neal Chance has been working on developing a torque converter for nitromethane applications over the last couple of years, and it just so happens a nitro engine and diesel engine have similar characteristics when it comes to horsepower application.

The torque converter that Marty Chance and his team provided Firepunk was built from the ground up in CAD/CAM software. This torque converter was designed specifically with the torque, horsepower, and load a nitro or turbo-diesel vehicle makes in mind.

Marty explains what went into creating this radical torque converter for a nitro and turbo diesel application.

“Nitro engines and turbo-diesel engines are load-dependent when it comes to making maximum horsepower. If you have a converter or clutch that’s slipping, the engine will get fat and not make the power…you have to load these engines up for them to be happy. In a nitro-powered vehicle at idle, you have to have enough slippage so you can put it in gear and get it to go into reverse after a burnout. The converter needs to transfer load as soon as power is applied at a rate that’s far greater than any passenger vehicle converter.”

Firepunk’s barrier-breaking and historic 3.99-second pass at 182 mph shows that Chance’s converter works well in a turbo-diesel application. A diesel engine can make nearly 160 pounds of boost while generating massive horsepower and only need to spin at 5,000-6,000 RPM. The Neal Chance nitro torque converter is perfect for harnessing this power, and it will be interesting to see just how quick Firepunk can run as they get more track time with this torque converter package.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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